COUNTY BOARD MINUTES
MARCH 18 & 19, 2013
The Board convened on Monday, March 18, 2013 with all members present: Holthaus, Andersen, Byrne, Geerts, and Zoll. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Holthaus. Mail was opened and distributed. Also present was a member from the media.
Motion by Andersen, Seconded by Geerts to approve agenda for March 18 & 19, 2013. Roll Call: All Ayes. Motion Carried.
Motion by Andersen, Seconded by Byrne to approve board minutes of March 11 & 12, 2013. Roll Call: All Ayes. Motion Carried.
The Board met with department heads to discuss the current budget and FY 14 budget. Present were Sheila Kobliska, Dusten Rolando, Ken Rasing, Todd Miller, Doug Welton, Sue Breitbach, Kathy Babcock, Cindy Messersmith, Brian Moore, and Asst. County Attorney Mark Huegel.
Supervisor Holthaus assured the department heads that for now there would be no reduction in hours, layoffs, or reduction in staff as a result of the recently approved budget for FY 14. Supervisor Holthaus also reported that several county employees attended a conference in Decorah last week sponsored by Midwest Group Benefits, Inc. regarding health insurance and the health care industry. There was much discussion at the meeting about increased premiums and the “unknown.” Overall, premiums are likely to increase as well as deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses. One of the main points made at the meeting was the necessity of using experts to guide decision-makers at this time, as the Affordable Health Care Act is more fully implemented in 2014. It was reported at the conference that health insurance costs have doubled since 2003 and are likely to double again by 2020. Supervisor Holthaus reported that the private auditing firm (Hacker, Nelson, & Co. P.C.) recently reported that the recently completed audit for FY 12 was complimentary. Supervisor Andersen asked the department heads to be conservative in their department and make no major purchases until at least the second half of FY 14. By that time, the Board of Supervisors should have a better idea about the health insurance fund. Assessor Doug Welton, Recorder Cindy Messersmith and Auditor Joan E. Knoll attended a Healthcare Reform presentation sponsored by ISAC Spring School on March 14 & 15, 2013. Supervisor Andersen attended the ISAC Spring School.
The County Engineer Dusten Rolando met with the Board to discuss road departmental activities. Topics included: maintenance and service of vehicles; maintenance of gravel roads; hauling rock in several spots; plowing snow on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; one ways out today; repair signs as needed; flasher stands out on muddy roads; decking continues on Groves bridge; pavement markings contracts; etc.
Engineer Rolando reviewed the joint service agreement with Howard County regarding a project in the northeast corner of the county involves the county line road and the City of Protivin.
Motion by Geerts, Seconded by Zoll to approve a Joint Public Service Agreement with Howard County and the City of Protivin for Project FM-C0445(69—55-45.. Roll Call: All Ayes. Motion Carried.
Motion by Byrne, Seconded by Andersen to approve and authorize Chairman Signature on the contract for pavement markings with Vogel Traffic Services for project FM-C01919(81)—55-19 in the amount of $94, 207.42. Roll Call: All Ayes. Motion Carried.
Motion by Geerts, Seconded by Andersen to approve the permit for Windstream Communications to place buried cable in the county right-of-way along Panora Avenue from 190th Street to Hwy 24 and place three equipment cabinets on the west side of Panora Avenue 150 feet north of 205th. Roll Call: All Ayes. Motion Carried.
There was much discussion about the poor quality of road conditions around the county and in the region. For the most part, the roads are too soft right now to blade and are too soft most of the time to haul for “spot rocking.” Much rutting has occurred. The forecast is for colder temperatures later this week. If possible, more “spot rocking” will occur if the roads have not thawed out too much. All of the roads that were once closed as result of high water recently are now re-opened. There was some discussion about Washington County’s policy, ”Adopt A Gravel”, using private “volunteers” to haul rock and the liability that would be incurred if that was the case. Chickasaw County may consider this in the future, however, “Adopt A Gravel” and the resident would pay for the rock and the County would haul and blade the gravel. An “Adopt A Gravel” sign would be erected with their name also.
Engineer Rolando handed out the five year construction program map. Discussion followed.
Engineer Rolando responded to a question regarding the replacement of a fence south of Alta Vista when a culvert was put in last year. The City of Alta Vista owns the property.
Assistant County Attorney met with the Board for an update on the Price Wildlife Property and the Troyna Restoration. Also present was Conservation Director Brian Moore. County Attorney Pat Wegman and Assistant County Attorney Mark Huegel continue to contact the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and there has been no response from the IDNR as of this date. The attorney’s office and the conservation office will continue to contact the IDNR and update the Board on a monthly basis. The Troyna Property Restoration project was in the amount of $41,495. The County Attorney Office is working with the IDNR to get a revised agreement.
Conservation Director Moore has two properties identified for replacement using the proceeds from the sale of the Price Wildlife property, one property by Nashua and one further north. Mel Pacovsky believes we’ll need to purchase “upland” (not river bottom). Otherwise, the conservation board has been looking for river-bottom property. Assistant County Attorney Huegel asked the question regarding the shortfall of the money and where was the balance to come. Supervisor Holthaus’ view was the money would come from the rental farm leases.
Ken Rasing met with the Board for a departmental update. Heritage Residence: two of the five bathrooms are being remodeled and the tile has been ordered for the five bathrooms and the tile is not here yet; need to replace one toilet; countertops are ordered and are two weeks out; and the final project to be completed is the north door. Ken Rasing has received 18 applications for the Environmental Health Specialist/Land Use Administrator and the interviewing process will begin the week of March 25, 2013
Engineer Rolando returned to the meeting to discuss some ideas that had come up by way of e-mail earlier having to do with some suggestions that were made at the budget hearing on March 4, 2013. One suggestion had to do with timing of and processes for ‘gassing up” the roads department vehicles especially in the New Hampton area. The suggestion had been made that instead of having drivers gassing up at the Five Star Coop, that they should come back to the garage where fuel trucks could be used to fill truck fuel tanks. The process could be overseen by some roads department employees whose hours would be shifted some so they could cover this new responsibility. The suggestion was also made that perhaps some routine maintenance could be done on these trucks by mechanics who would have somewhat adjusted work shifts. The response to these ideas included the following comments. The current system for fueling up trucks uses a variety of vendors. If the roads department was to make some changes, other vendors would need to be given comparable opportunities to provide fueling services. There are several vendors in the New Hampton area. County trucks also are fueled up elsewhere in the county. There were questions about the fueling practices in other parts of the county. With respect to changing the work schedules of mechanics, there is a necessity to make sure there is more than one person on duty when mechanical work is being done on equipment. The County could run into some real difficulties given the present size of the workforce. The Engineer and Board of Supervisors have discussed establishing fuel tanks on county garage property and they have concluded that, given the cost of establishing such an operation and following the various regulations that are in place, that it is not practical or cost effective to put in place fuel tanks on the property. The point was made also that the Board wants to communicate that it does desire to follow up on the suggestions that were and still can be made about ways to improve operational efficiency.
Supervisor Zoll informed the Board the Upper Cedar River received funding from the Iowa Flood Center last week in the approximate amount of $1.5 million.
The Board recessed at 12:10 PM and reconvened at 1:00 PM.
Attorney Michael Kennedy, Paul Herold with HRS LLC., and Assistant County Attorney Mark Huegel met with the Board to discuss the proposed changes in the subdivision ordinance. Also present was Ken Rasing. Discussion followed. Ken Rasing will contact the Planning Commission to discuss and review the language change to the subdivision ordinance and the Planning Commission will give the Board their recommendation. The Board will appoint an interim administrator for the Land Use Commission/Subdivision Ordinance/Floodplain at the next board meeting.
Motion by Andersen, Seconded by Geerts to adjourn the meeting at 2:15 PM. Roll Call: All Ayes. Motion Carried.
The Board convened on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 with all members present: Byrne, Zoll, Holthaus, Geerts and Andersen. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Holthaus. Mail was opened and distributed. Also present was a member from the media.
Dennis Litterer met with the Board to discuss the Affordable Health Care. Dennis Litterer will contact his representative Neil Wilkensen with Financial Decisions Group to give the Board options. Topics discussed were union contracts of which four of the five contracts expire June 30, 2014 and one union contract will expire June 30, 2015, higher deductibles, change the benefit package, stay self-funded or fully funded options, etc. Dennis Litterer will contact the Board at a later date.
Motion by Andersen, Seconded by Geerts to adjourn the meeting at 11:53 AM. Roll Call: All Ayes. Motion Carried.
Rick Holthaus, Chairman
Board of Supervisors
Joan E. Knoll, Auditor